Friday, June 25, 2010

Help you help me

Two weeks ago, Little Miss shot up three inches in front of my eyes. Figuratively, of course. It would’ve been weird otherwise. She was having trouble opening the trash can and she looked at me and said, for the first time, “Mama, hap!” and I knew immediately what she meant. She asked for help. I froze in my surprise because up to that point, she was mostly naming nouns and requesting to be lifted or fed. I didn’t think she was capable to ask for help as it involves a somewhat complex thought process (for a toddler anyway): Stupid trash can! I can’t open this, but maybe she can. I should ask her. And she did, which made me really proud. Not because she could say the word, but because of her astute assessment of the situation and consequent search for a solution instead of struggling needlessly by herself.

It may be because I’m a first-time mom that something as simple as a 19-month-old asking for help amazes me. But it may also be because she did with ease what I usually couldn’t myself. She may have learned from my daily refrain of “would you like mommy to help you with that?” but ironically, I’m the one who find it incredibly hard to seek assistance - at least from people outside of My Guy and my mom. When I found out that Little Miss’ daycare was closing for a week for vacation, and we needed to find an alternative, I panicked. As with most daycares, we still had to pay them the weekly fee despite the closed doors so to employ a full-time sitter for a whole week on top of that would hurt our budget.

With family so far away and having exhausted our other options, I had to fight my natural instincts and ask for help from our friends. I realized that if my toddler could do it, I could too. I convinced myself that it’s not a sign of weakness, and that it wasn’t an imposition - if they couldn’t do it, they probably wouldn’t. But they did. While I toiled away on the computer, they took turns entertaining and feeding my little girl, going out of their way and above and beyond. I am warmed by their kindness and magnanimity. These are people who have their own family or live a long drive away or don’t even have kids of their own, but they found the time and energy for mine. For that, I’m truly grateful.

Had it not been for them, this would have been a horrendous week. As much as I would have loved spending the extra time with my daughter, I also knew my obligations at work would make it impossible for me to enjoy her. Full-time job and full-time motherhood are difficult enough to manage on their own, but to combine the two would have driven me up the wall. As you can see, I’m still sane. Even somewhat coherent. (I hope.) All because a sage little girl showed me that it’s OK, even smart, to ask for help.

I am glad that I taught her so she can teach me.


PlaydatePicture sent from a friend while she was watching Little Miss at her house, who, as you can see, was getting along really well with her daughter. It takes a good friend and mom to recognize that it was just the peace of mind I needed.

Thank you to all who helped. You know who you are.



Bigger Picture Moment

This post is part of Bigger Picture Moments. Click on the button, find out what it’s all about. Or you can read the other Bigger Picture Moments from this week here.